29 November 2013

Porc Normande with lumache and sugar snaps

".... You are the apple of my eye
Forever you'll stay in my heart"
Stevie Wonder 1973 

Similar to Kent in South-East England Normandy just across "Le Manche" in France is famous for its apple orchards which are mentioned as far back as Charlemagne in the eighth  century. It doesn't take a PhD to work out that in French cuisine the term "Normande" is generally used to denote a dish with apples! But perhaps the best known products from this fruit crop are not a food but drinks - apple cider and the liqueur distilled from it.. Calvados. Both of these are used to great effect in this recipe.

Pork and apple is a classic match made in heaven and this unctuous creamy sauce with apple is no different. Here we serve it with lumache and sugar snaps. If you wish you can substitute the pork with chicken or veal escallop or even a meaty white fish which will work very well.


2 Pork cutlets (flattened to form escallops)
1 Apple
200 - 250 ml apple cider (approx)
2 - 3 Tbsps Calvados
100 ml Cream


Season the pork escallops and heat a little oil and butter in non-stick pan. Fry the pork for for one to two minutes on each side. Remove and set aside. Slice the apple and place on the pan. Fry until soft and then deglaze the pan with the Calvados then add about 250 ml of apple cider and allow to reduce. When about a third of the original quantity remains switch off the heat and add the cream and mix. Return any juices from the pork to the mix. Place the pork on a serving dish and pour over the apple slices and cream.

Here we show the dish served with lumache pasta shells and sugar snaps. Boil the pasta as per the packet instructions and add the sugar snaps one and a half minutes before draining. Drizzle olive oil over and serve as a bed under the meat.

Posted by incredibly fed

15 November 2013

Spiced Plum and Apple Chutney

The plum tree at Tatjana's allotment is undoubtedly temperamental! For a number of years there has been barely any fruit worth talking about and one or two apple and plum crumbles were about all we managed to muster out of the harvest. Ah... But not so this year. The branches positively groaned under the weight of fruit and in some cases were bent almost double. Even the voracious appetite of the raucous parakeets that frequent the skies over the Chiswick / Acton boarder lands couldn't devour the bountiful produce. Determined to take advantage of this bumper crop Ghaz insisted we all stagger home with as much fruit as we could carry to experiment with fruit chutney recipes. As usual our recipes are intended as a guide and are very forgiving. You can make this recipe your own by adding some of your favourite ingredients - here for example we would suggest sultanas or dried cranberries or dates even!


1 Garlic Bulb
2 Thumb sized Fresh root ginger
2 Large red onions
1 Kg Apples
1 Kg Plums
3 Star Anise
6 Cardamon Pods
12 Cloves
2 Bay leaves
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp Curry powder
1 Tbsp Chilli powder
1 Tsp Chilli flakes
2 Tbsps Salt
450g Castor sugar
Juice one lime
568mls Apple Cider
250 Mls Balsamic vinegar
6 Jam jars Sterilised


Peel garlic and blend with ginger until a smooth paste. Peel and thinly slice the onion and place in large saucepan with the paste. Peel, core and chop the apples and add to the pan with spices, vinegar salt and sugar. Gently bring to the boil stir and simmer about 30 minutes or until the apple is cooked and pulpy.
Meanwhile stone and quarter the plums and add to the mixture and simmer for 40 minutes until plums are cooked but still retain some shape. Bottle cold after a few days and seal. Once opened use within a month.

Posted by incredibly fed

28 October 2013

Game....? Boys

"On the first day of Christmas 
my true love gave to me 
a partridge in a pear tree"
English Carol thought to be of French origin first published in England in 1780 

As the song would seem to gleefully and repetitiously suggest one of the tastiest game birds is undoubtedly partridge but thankfully we don't have to wait until the twelve days of Christmas to cook and enjoy it. We are currently right in the middle of the game season and a few days ago we featured pheasant where we also detailed this type of "pot roasting".

Having attempted to oven roast game on numerous occasions in the past and failing miserably to achieve the optimum goal of a tender, moist and succulent meat we think this cooking method successfully ensures the best balance of the finished product.
Here the accompanying jus we suggest is slightly sweet, rich and fruity and is the perfect partner for the gamy taste of the fowl.


2 Oven ready partridges
1 Carrot chopped
2 Sticks celery chopped
1 Small onion chopped
3 Cloves Garlic chopped
2 Tsps Chilli paste
2 Bay leaves
1 Sprig rosemary
Olive oil
300 mls White wine


2 Tbsps black current jam
Dash Worcester Sauce
Dash Tobasco
Juice of one orange
Tsp sugar


Check the fowl for shot and remove. Pour a little olive oil and a melt a knob of butter in a small casserole dish (one which will accommodate the birds snugly). Brown off the birds all round (this will be the only chance to give them a pleasing golden colour). Remove and set aside. Place the onion and garlic in the dish and gently cook for a few minutes before adding the remainder of the vegetables and the chilli paste. Cook for a further few minutes then sit the birds on top of the vegetables and pour the wine into the dish. It should come to well up the sides of the birds ( the snug fit should make this easier). Cover and kick start the wet roasting by warming the wine on the hop before placing in a pre-heated oven at 200 C. Cook for about 45 to 50 minutes then remove from the oven and allow the partridges to rest for 10 - 15 minutes. Drain the juices into a pan and reduce to about about a third. Add the orange juice, butter, jam, Worcestershire sauce and Tobasco and season to taste.

To serve place a spoonful of the vegetables in the centre of a large dinner plate, half each bird and arrange on top. Pour a generous amount of jus over.

Posted by incredibly fed

26 October 2013

Game Over... Fruity Pot Roasted Pheasant

So the autumn equinox has come and gone and tonight we put the clocks back - an annual ritual which well and truly heralds the advent of the winter months. One of the compensations of this time of the year however, as we witness the disappearing sun and lengthening hours of darkness is the abundance and variety of game available in our local butchers. At the moment he is offering succulent pheasant at a very reasonable price of less than £3.50 per bird. The one we cooked was ample for two people making it a very economical dish and tasty to boot!

Pot roasting the game helps to keep the breast meet from drying out whilst at the same time allowing the leg joints to become tender.


1 medium sized pheasant
1 large apple (sliced)
3 - 4 Plums
250 mls Apple or dark fruit cider
1 small red onion (chopped)
4 - 5 cms Chorizo
Sprig Rosemary
2 Bay leaves
Juice and rind of one lime
Butter / Olive oil
2 Tbsps Blackcurrant or Blackberry jam


Melt butter and olive oil in a casserole dish  season and brown the pheasant on all sides. Remove and set aside. Sautee the onion and chorizo until translucent and then add the apple and plums. Then add in the cider, rosemary, bay leaves and lime juice and rind. and put the pheasant back in. The liquid should come well up the sides of the bird. Cover and place in the oven at 180 C for about an hour. Baste occasionally. About 15 minutes before you are ready to eat remove the bird from the dish and allow to rest. Spoon in the jam and dissolve then add the cream. Strain into a sauce boat. Halve the pheasant, pour the jus over and serve with Game chips or sauteed potatoes.

Posted by incredibly fed

18 October 2013

What Baloo didn't tell Mowgli..!

"Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear 
Try to use the claw..."

Baloo 1967 

Although Rudyard Kipling's story is set in the lush Indian jungle Baloo's survival tips to Mowgli may indeed prove useful should you ever find yourself stranded and alone in inhospitable terrain.  Prickly pears are the fruits of the paddle cactus and grow in very arid locations mainly in the Americas and particularly in Mexico where they are known as 'Nopales'.
Beware though if you are tempted to try to harvest them. As Baloo cautions they are covered in nasty spines but even more treacherous are the tiny almost invisible hairs which cover the fruit and the pads which need to be burned or rubbed off. Thankfully when buying them in the market these hazards have already been removed.
We saw them recently in our local market and decided to try them out. Having eaten some raw we came to the conclusion that the best use was to make a compote similar to that made with passion fruit. It works well with vanilla ice cream or cheese cake or as a smoothie with bananas. Here we suggest an entirely diferent option though and team them up with chicken livers.


300g Chicken livers
50g Bacon lardons
2 Med sized pears peeled and sliced
1 Red onion thickly sliced
1 Clove garlic sliced
2 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsps Sherry Vinegar
1 Tsp Cayenne pepper
Tbsp Oil
Knob butter
Salt and pepper
1 Tsp sugar
3 Tbsps Prickly pear compote*


Melt the butter and oil in a non-stick pan and add the onion, lardons and garlic . Gently cook until the onion becomes translucent then add the pear slices, vinegar, cayenne, sugar and Worcestershire allow the liquid to reduce and add the livers. Cook gently until the livers change colour - no more than a minute. Finally add the fruit compote. Turn off the heat and season to taste. Serve with mixed leaves or pasta shells.

* You can substitute with 1 tbsp blackcurrant jam.

Posted by incredibly fed

11 October 2013

Tomato and Tamarind Chutney

The word chutney derives from Sanskrit and means "to lick" the first Indian chutneys being sweetened with honey and thus being more runny they were served as a dip rather than a condiment. Chutneys can be dated as far back as 500 BC and their ingredients are now almost limitless. Early globalisation ensued as their popularity spread along the trade routes driven first by the Romans and then much later spread through out the English speaking world via the British Empire. As new foods poured in from around the planet, the Americas in particular and sugar was substituted for honey the recipe format was adapted and expanded to include exotic ingredients such as chillies and tomatoes. In Europe the preservative qualities of sugar, vinegar and salt were quickly realised and pickling and making chutney became an invaluable and tasty means of keeping fruit and vegetables edible over the cold winter months.


1 Kg Ripe Tomatoes
500g Red onions (finely sliced)
8 Garlic cloves
1 Red Chilli chopped (inc seeds)
2 Thumbs of ginger
250g Brown sugar
150ml Red wine vinegar
5 Cardamon pods
1 Cinnamon stick
3 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp Chilli powder or flakes
5 Tbsps Tamarind Paste
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 Jam jars (sterilised)


Blend garlic and ginger to paste and chop the tomatoes into cubes and tip all ingredients into a large heavy bottomed pan and bring to a gentle simmer stirring frequently for one hour until mixture turns dark and jammy. Allow to cool and bottle and seal after a day or two. The chutney will keep well but once opened store in the fridge and use within a month.

Posted by incredibly fed

5 October 2013

Open Fruit Tart

Continuing on our dessert theme from last time, this one is easy and so versatile. Recently we served it up making use of the delicious Saturn peaches (also known as doughnut peaches)  which are so plentiful at the moment. We stoned and halved the peaches before griddling them. Equally try pineapple nectarines, plums, strawberries raspberries almost anything in fact.

1 Sheet ready made puff pastry
Fruit of choice

Creme Anglaise*
6 Egg yolks
65g Sugar
Vanilla pod
500 ml Milk

1 Passion fruit
200 ml Fresh Orange juice
4 Tbsp Sugar


Cut a piece of baking paper and place on a baking tray and then roll out the pastry. Cut around the edge about 1 cm in (not  the whole way through the pastry) and prick the centre to prevent the pastry from rising excessively. Brush the edge with milk or beaten egg to ensure a pleasing golden colouring. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180 C for about 20 minutes.

Creme anglaise - Whip the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Heat the milk and vanilla in a pan and simmer for 4 - 5 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and pour the milk over the egg yolks whisking continuously, Allow to cool.

* Don't tell anyone but you can cheat by using a ready made custard!  In which case whisk 300g of mascarpone with 250ml of ready made custard and a teaspoon of vanilla extract and further sweeten to taste with icing sugar.

Glaze - Half and de-seed the passion fruit add the orange juice, lemongrass and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer until mixture has reduced and is syrupy. Allow to cool.

When ready to serve spread the creme mixture over the pastry and arrange the fruit over. Brush on the passion fruit glaze.

Posted by incredibly fed

30 September 2013

Coconut panna cotta and passion fruit coulis

"Sweets for my sweet, sugar for my honey,
Your first kiss thrilled me so,
Sweets for my sweet sugar for my honey,
I'll never ever let you go..."
The Drifters 1961

It's a truism that we could be criticised for not paying enough attention to the sweeter side of life. Yes there are very few desserts on this blog and it must be admitted that it is not really our area of greatest expertise. But let's try to rectify this omission and learn some easy and quick puddings together.

Behind the scenes we have been  busy developing a new line of desserts,  largely it has to be admitted driven by the necessity of providing a sugary conclusion to our buffet, cocktail and dinner party menus and fortunately our shot glass desserts have become very popular. In line with our general ethos we endeavour to produce menu items which blend east and west with a twist or to coin a popular phrase "fusion"!

Here's a panna cotta dessert we developed recently and it has just made it's debut onto our party menu lists. Literally "cooked cream" it makes a wonderful foil for all sorts of accessories. Here it is shown with a passion fruit coulis but goes equally well with other fruit toppings such as cherry jam for example or chocolate sauce. To add texture try a biscuit crumble.

Panna cotta with a summer berry jam. 

300 ml Double Cream
400 ml Thick coconut cream (1 can)
4 Sheets gelatine or agar agar
Castor Sugar to taste
1 Vanilla Pod
Pinch salt (optional)

3 Ripe passion fruits
Juice of half a lime
Castor Sugar to taste

Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 - 10 minutes. Meanwhile combine coconut milk, double cream sugar and vanilla in saucepan. Squeeze gelatine and add to the pan. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes in medium heat (Do not boil) Sieve liquid into serving dishes and allow to fall to room temperature before placing in the fridge for a few hours or preferably overnight.


Scoop out middle of passion fruit and add sugar and lime juice and simmer for a few minutes until sugar is dissolved and liquid has become syrupy. Before serving pour coulis over panna cotta and garnish with tropical fruit.

Posted by incredibly fed

13 September 2013

Fregola Grossa

A few months ago a very lovely foodie friend of ours gathered up her savings, took her courage in both hands and headed up the hill to Highgate to fulfil the dream of a lifetime. Emine found a rundown little shop carried out a major upgrade and launched "Limone" a new bijou delicatessen. Conveniently its just up the road from our good friend and sometime co-chief Rebecca. Behind its cute Victorian window the shop is bursting with hand baked breads, rare olive oils and bespoke goodies which are already proving a wonderful, much needed and very popular addition to the Highgate high street scene!

Shortly after the opening we were sitting at one of the little bistro tables wedged between the wicker baskets of crusty loaves sipping an oversized beaker of delicious hand roasted coffee and nibbling a delectable home made chocolate and walnut cake.  We had the perfect opportunity to eye up Emine's very personal and unusual selection of foods and vowed to take home some ingredients which we had never cooked before. Among those items which prompted our curiosity were the packages of fregola grossa which could easily be mistaken for very large irregular grains of cous cous or even a breakfast cereal crunch but is actually an unusual (here at least) type of pasta made with semolina dough from Sardinia.

If you decide to give this one a go you will wind up with a delicious dish which is similar to a risotto or paella but made with pasta of course. Classically it is cooked with tomato sauce and clams and is a wonderful and very filling winter warmer. The recipe below is a basic version but please feel free to try your own variations. If you are feeling really indulgent try adding your own favourite shell fish such as prawns or mussels or a strongly flavoured chorizo or smoked sausage. For added flavour and appeal sprinkle each serving with flakes of parmesan cheese before serving.


100g Fregola grossa
1 Litre carton Tomato juice
1 Red onion (finely chopped)
2 Large Tomatoes (chopped)
2 Gloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 large glass white wine
2 large bacon rashers coarsely diced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 or 3 bulbs fennel cut into quarters
Large knob butter
Handful coriander
Dash Woscester Sauce
Dash Tabasco
Salt and Pepper


Melt the butter in a deep frying pan and add the onions garlic then the bacon and tomatoes and fennel cook gently for a few minutes until the onions become translucent and the fennel begins to soften. Add the wine and cook for a further few minutes to burn off the alcohol before adding the tomato juice. Pour in the uncooked fregola and stir through the liquid. Allow the pasta to absorb the liquid slowly. Add the Woscester sauce, lemon juice, tabasco and seasoning. Cover and stir occasionally until the fragola is soft but still slightly al dente. Further season to taste and garnish with torn coriander leaves.

Posted by incredibly fed

5 September 2013

Forager's Crumble

Forager's table at Tatjana's

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow 
in an English country garden..?
...How many insects come here and go 
in an English country garden..?
...How many song birds fly to and fro' 
in an English country garden...? 
Jimmie Rodgers 1962 

Last Sunday the Indian summer was in still in full gear so we got up early to visit the first-Sunday-of-the-month Chiswick car boot fair... Quite an entertaining experience for the princely sum of £1.00 and very reminiscent of another of our favourite old haunts  - Incants flea market in Barcelona. If you, like us fancy a good rummage well then there are no better places. Just stick a few bob in your pocket and go with an open mind and see what appears. Having made a modest purchase to support the traders we continued on to the nearby farmers market for fair trade coffee and then to Tatjana's allotment where late summer's wonderful bounty was ripe for the picking. Tatjana's plot neighbour John has an extensive plantation with just about everything that grows in this climate on offer. It is undoubtedly one of the best allotments on the site with neat rows of trellis and raised beds between manicured paths and trimmed bushes and trees. Thanks to their generosity we staggered away at the end of the day with all we could carry and have been cooking ever since.

One favourite which we tried out the next day on some of Ghaz's girlie friends to great effect was undoubtedly the forager's crumble. To give this very popular dessert a twist and to make it our own so to speak we played around with both the filling and the topping using up ingredients that were to hand. Making the basic topping is easy but to make it more interesting many recipes recommend that you also add various breakfast cereal type ingredients such as muesli or porridge oats or even crushed biscuits of various sorts. In our case we added an assortment of ingredients which we found in the cupboard and which needed to be used up - namely coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, chopped walnuts and toasted almonds. Keep in mind that you are seeking to achieve a slightly sweet and crunchy topping to compliment the soft stickiness of the fruit filling. Similarly for the fruit filling many candidates are eminently suitable, a base of apples is a good start but the possibilities are really only limited by your own imagination! The exact amounts will vary depending on the amount and nature of your chosen ingredients so the recipe below is intended as a guide only.

Forager's Crumble
4 - 6 Cooking Apples
Handful of Blackberries
Handful Pineapple chunks
Handful of sliced Plums
20g Butter
50g Castor sugar
Tsp Cinnamon powder
2-3 Tbsps Cherry Brandy

Crumble (Basic)
100g Flour
50g Butter
Sugar to taste (Several tblsps)

Slice the apples into small chunks and place in a deep pan with the butter and sugar and cinnamon and cherry brandy. Melt the butter and cook for a few minutes until all the ingredients come together to make a good syrupy filling. Softer fruits such as berries and plums should be added when you turn off the heat. Allow to cool. In the meantime place the butter, flour and sugar in a bowl and rum with you fingers until the mixture forms a breadcrumb like structure. Rub for a few minutes but do not over do it! Mix in whatever other nuts and seeds etc you might like to use. Place the cold fruit mix into a baking dish or individual ramekins and cover generously with the crumble topping. Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes or until the topping is a pleasing golden brown.

Posted by incredibly fed

30 August 2013

Beloved Barceloneta!

The night time view from Piotr's apartment over Barcelona harbour
"....please don't cry, this is adios and not goodbye,
Soon I'll return, bringing you all the love your heart can hold,
Please say si, si,
Say you and your Spanish eyes will wait for me.. "
Al Martino 1965 and 1973 

OK, OK, we know the song is about Mexico not Spain but the lyrics seem to fit... well sort of!

A week or two ago between a 60th birthday buffet and a 21st celebration the IF chefs had an opportunity to take a short break to carry out a little research and development in our favourite Mediterranean city - Barcelona. We were invited to stay at a friend's bijou penthouse apartment overlooking the harbour in the distinctive Barceloneta quarter of the metropolis. So temporarily forsaking our usual pied-a-terre (Jose's cool, contemporary and brilliantly designed Eixample flat on Avenida Aragon - which in any event was already booked) we were delighted to take up the offer to stay in Piotr's "Beloved Barceloneta!".

Barceloneta is a self contained triangular city district which forms a promontory on the north side of Barcelona's impressive harbour. One side encloses multi-million pound sailing craft whilst another, more democratically provides accommodation on a sandy beach for anyone brave enough to attempt to find a patch sufficiently large to unfurl a beach towel and brave the blisteringly hot sunshine!

Built on a grid pattern in the 19th century to house fishermen and their families, sailors and other dock workers it is a staunchly working class barrio, only thinly veiled by a waifer veneer of uber trendiness and paella tourist traps. Consequently the buildings are modest and the streets tightly packed but thankfully despite its increasing desirability amongst outsiders has not lost its wonderfully unique character.

"Bombas cojonudas"
The landmark food market, which is the neighbourhood's centrepiece, has been recently refurbished beside a new civic square which in turn boasts a number of Michelin star eateries. Behind the flat there is a wonderful artisan bakery whose croissants would rival anything central Paris or Vienna has to offer and numerous querky resaurants which actively discourage "giris" (foreigners and tourists).  One of which, a favourite of Jose's, has no sign outside, serves soupy rice as its signature dish and started out life when one fisherman's wife was persuaded to cook a meal for the entire boat crew each time they returned to port! Even today you still get the overwhelming impression you are eating in some one's front room!

One of our favourites though does have a sign which says "La Bombeta"  a tapas restaurant on the Calle de la Machinista with a wood panelled and formica 1950s interior straight out of la dolce vita and a hand painted sign proudly proclaiming that.. "we don't speak English but we make f***ing good bombas!" It was so true too, the maitre spoke Castillian and the bombas, croquettas and morcilla were out of this world! Try it if you get a chance but don't go late at night as you won't get a table!

"We don't speak English but...!" 

On a slightly sweeter note the best ice cream on the peninsula was from a parlour Jose introduced us to, the newly arrived Vioko which proudly displayed all its flavours in three languages (Catalan, Castillian and English). We tried the hazelnut and an off piste grapefruit and jasmine both of which were delectable! Giris very welcome!

Spot paintings at Vioko. 
Further into the shop delicious dark chocolate was on offer whilst rows of colourful macaroons had all the appearance of Damien Hirst spots lined up and waiting to be applied to his latest canvas!

On the beach front we had a delicious lunch at Kaiku very recommended.

Further afield Jose took us to eat at two trendy new eateries Cornilia and Co on Calle Valencia which also has an interesting deli and wine shop and where we chatted to Cornilia herself who was taking a break and a quick bite at the next table, and the former Moritz brewery turned bistro on Ronda San Antoni near the plaza Universitat. This is a beautiful old beer factory now cleverly converted by the Moritz family into a large restaurant with a comprehensive and central Eurpoean influenced menu. The complex boasts a bakery and shop and still makes just enough beer on the site to fill the pitchers on the dining tables. It is well worth a visit.

Posted by incredibly fedhttp://www.restaurantkaiku.cat/

23 August 2013

"Salmon-chanted Evening..."

"Some enchanted evening 
You may see a stranger,
you may see a stranger,
Across a crowded room" 
Emile de Becque 1949

Misheard lyrics from the southern seas aside this one really is enchanting! It is inspired by the Peruvian and Nikkei fusion cuisine on offer at Pakta, the Adria brothers' latest eatery in Barcelona which we had the pleasure of visiting recently. (See post 6th August 2013) Based loosely on Pakta's ceviche of sea bass and kumquat, its flavours are sophisticatedly subtle like most of the fare on offer there. Very easy to do, it is guaranteed to raise eyebrows and win accolades from every corner of your dining table. It is a salmon and ruby grapefruit ceviche with maracuya (passion fruit) syrup. The blend of bitter sweet fruit juices together with sashimi will blow your socks off!

Organic Salmon
1 Ruby grapefruit
Lemon zest for garnish
Coriander leaves for garnish
Maracuya syrup
1 Passion fruit
200 ml Fresh Orange juice
4 Tbsp Sugar


Syrup - Half and de-seed the passion fruit add the orange juice, lemongrass and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer until mixture has reduced and is syrupy. Allow to cool.

Peel the grapefruit by cutting off the top and bottom and remove the skin by cutting down the sides of the fruit following its curve. Cut between the segments with a very sharp knife to produce slices which have no pith or stringy bits. Set aside squeeze the juice out of the remainder Thinly slice the salmon and arrange on a plate. drizzle olive oil over and spoon over the grapefruit juice and a little of the syrup. Sprinkle a little salt over. Arrange coriander leaves and lemon zest on top.

Posted by incredibly fed

11 August 2013

Ice cold Spanish Summer soup!

Why wait till you go to Spain to enjoy a gorgeous gazpacho? Now that the weather is so warm and tomatoes and cucumbers are so plentiful in the market what better lunch or starter than an ice cold super summer soup. Oh and do we need to mention its economical and very healthy too?

6 - 8 Large ripe Tomatoes
2 Cucumbers
2 Yellow or red Peppers (Roasted)
1 Lemon (juice and zest)
1 Tbsp White wine vinegar
1 Tsp Tabasco
1 Tsp Woscester sauce
2 Tsps Castor Sugar

Ice cubes
Olive oil
Ground Black pepper

Slice and de-seed the peppers, season, drizzle with olive oil and place in a pre-heated oven at 180 C for about 25 minutes. In the meantime core and de-seed the tomatoes, peel the cucumber, slice in half lenght-wise and scoop out the seeds. Place in a food blender or liquidizer with the peppers and any juice on the baking tray. Add the juice of a lemon, tabasco, Woscester, vinegar and sugar and a little water and blitz for several minutes until soft and creamy. You will need to let down the pulp further at this stage with a little more water until you are happy with the consistency of the soup. Now place in the fridge for several hours until very cold. Taste and finally adjust the seasoning and maybe dilute a little further. Add the lemon zest, garnish and serve ice cold.

Posted by incredibly fed

6 August 2013

Pakta, Togetherness in Barcelona

Round One! Honzen Ryori.
"Su reserva esta confirmada" the email read. It had just been sent to us by Jose in Barcelona who was so chuffed at having secured a booking at this the latest of the Adria Brothers' new stable of eateries, more or less all located in the Poble Sec district of the Catalan capital, that he felt he should send us the proof!

Pakta the website explains is an indiginous Peruvian language word meaning 'Together or Union" and the restaurant is so called because it brings together two chefs, one from Japan and one from Peru to create this fusion menu. Japan and Peru, readers are informed have had a long association and Nikkei cuisine is very popular in Peru.

Mortared chalaca with mussels and yucca chips
As we seated ourselves the delightful and very pretty Sussie Vilanova our Filipina-Danish hostess introduced herself and brilliantly guided us through the whole gastronomic oddyssey. (We were even told where the beautiful white glass and porcelain crockery was sourced!) At the onset perspective diners are advised to allow two hours for the whole experience but for us I must say this was way out - it was more like three and a half with no programmed breaks for cigarettes or the loo which you are encouraged to request!! Such a contrast from London eateries where you are shushed off the table after one hour twenty. Furthermore a quick calculation indicated no more than 30 covers and a staff to customer ratio way in favour of the customer! The place is small!

Sea Bass ceviche with kumquats "leche de tigre" 
The choice is simple there are two taster menus with between about 14 to 18 courses, one is slightly longer than the other but Sussie carefully explained to us that the actual quantity of food was similar as the portions varied and that we should make our choice based on personal preference not quantity! In true democratic style the entire table is obliged to agree on one menu or the other.

It would take far too long to discribe each course but once our little troupe embarked on the voyage there was nothing but ooooos, ahhs and ghasps of delight as Sussie held us all spellbound with her knowledgable presentation of each new dish and we listened enthralled to a description of its social history, component ingredients and cooking techniques.

Posted by incredibly fed

15 July 2013

Nasu Dengaku (Miso Aubergine)

We know it's not that long ago we were extolling the virtues of the humble griddled aubergine but make no apology for mentioning it again as this dish is really special. It is a favourite whenever we go to Japanese restaurants but to be frank it always seems such poor value that last time we ordered it a few days ago at Eat Tokyo just off Leicester Square we resolved on the spot to get the ingredients and make it ourselves. Over lunch Ghaz surfed the world wide web on his iphone and we picked up the ingredients we didn't already have in Chinatown on the way home!

It's actually very simple to make. The only sightly tricky ingredient is the miso paste of which there are two varieties, red and white. We plumbed for the red simply because the resultant colour is more appealing. (We have yet to try the white in the same recipe). We have put in a link below which explains the nature of the ingredient. The paste totally transforms the taste of the aubergine flesh so even if the humble egg plant is not one of your particular favourites we think you will really enjoy this as a wonderful vegetarian starter or side to accompany fish dishes in particular!

Ingredients (For 1 aubergine)

2 Tbsp Red miso paste
2 Tbsp Mirin
2 Tbsp Rice wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Castor Sugar
2 Tbsp Water
1 Tsp Light Soy
White Sesame seeds for garnish
Vegetable Oil


Pre-heat grill. Cut the aubergine lengthwise leaving the stalk on. Score the flesh diagonally taking care not to pierce the skin. Brush the halves all over with vegetable oil and place under the grill flesh side up for a few minutes until browned then turn over for a few more minutes until you are happy the flesh is soft and cooked. Remove from the grill and pat dry.

Meanwhile in a separate pan mix all the paste ingredients and simmer until the mixture thickens to a syrup. Spoon over the aubergine flesh and grill for a further two minutes until the syrup has caramelised. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Posted by incredibly fed

5 July 2013

Lycee Mojito for Cocktail O'Clock!

Ingredients (Makes one drink)

2 Wedges of Lime
2 lycees
25 ml algave
3-4 Mint leaves
Shot (25 ml) lycee liquor
Double shot (50 ml) white rum
Soda water
Crushed ice

Garnish Sprig of mint, 1 lycee cape gooseberry (optional)

Muddle lycee, mint, sugar and lime then add rum and lycee liquor and top up with crushed ice and fill the glass with soda water and garnish

Posted by incredibly fed

21 June 2013

Gravlax Sauce

A few weeks ago we were asked to do a "chef's table" seated birthday dinner for 14 people. (That is to prepare and cook all the courses in front of guests) The client told us that as it was her special evening she wanted to choose her all time favourite dishes. So in reverse order the menu included Tiramisu for dessert, Halibut and asparagus with Hollandaise sauce for the mains and seared carpaccio of beef to kick off. We had great fun cooking and very much enjoyed being so involved with the guests all evening and watching the fare disappear from the plates almost a quickly as it was served!

Afterwards we were complimented all round but quickly discovered that one item in particular seems to have stolen the show. We had decided to dress the carpaccio with a gravlax sauce more commonly seen on smoked salmon but we find goes equally well if not better with meat.  This is a great little condiment and people have been asking for the recipe ever since! So here it is...


2 Tbsps honey mustard
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1Tbsp White wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Castor Sugar
1 Tsp Salt
1 Egg yolk
150 ml Rape seed oil
Dill chopped
Ground black pepper


Whisk the egg yolk, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar together in a small blender or mixer. Slowly drizzle in the oil. The mixture should emulsify, that is become thick and creamy. Stir in the chopped dill and spoon over the meat or salmon. Please take note the ingredients are intended as a guide so once the basic sauce is made don't be afraid to calibrate the levels of sweetness and sourness to your individual taste by adding more sugar, salt or vinegar as appropriate.

By the way the carpaccio of beef is prepared by dusting the beef with a mix of garlic salt chilli powder, salt and ground black pepper and quickly searing it all round on a smoking hot pan. Allow it to cool and wrap tightly in cling film. It will be much easier to slice thinly after a couple hours in the freezer.

Posted by incredibly fed

14 June 2013

Street Food!

A few days ago a client asked us to cater for a corporate event his company was hosting. We had already catered a private party for his birthday in April and were delighted to be asked back so soon to cook again. This time it was to be an evening of corporate entertainment, the main event being a performance by the "Pop Up Opera Company" but also included was a book signing by the author Garry Hunter of copies of his study of recent street art from around the world. Our client asked us to come up with an original theme for corporate entertainment. After some thought the suggestion was a world street food fair to compliment the book's "World Street Art" subject.

We suggested the food should be served from a street stall, an idea which the client loved and provided a menu of street food from around the world which we thought would be appropriate. The list included amongst other dishes fish and chips, burgers and hot dogs from Great Britain, stuffed vine leaves from Greece, various kebabs from the middle east, bhajis and peckoras from India and noodle and rice dishes from the Far East.
"Posters" advertising our wares... 

In the end the client plumbed for Great British fish and chips, summer rolls from Vietnam, Falalels with hummus and tabouleh from the Lebanon, tandoori chicken from India and Asian rice noodle boxes all accessorised with heaps of prawn crackers, poppadums and a variety of delectable sauces and dressings!  Desserts were retro fruit skewers with salted dark chocolate sauce and poached pears with ginger and mascarpone.

Once the choice was made Andrew our trusty IT support consultant designed and printed off posters to adorn the stall. So "Alfie's Falafels", "Tandoori Junction", "Saigon Vegetarian Rolls", "The Great British Fish and Chip Supper" and "Capa Street Noodles" all made their debut but for one night only...

All hands on deck during the interval! 

On that night we erected a garden gazabo indoors which made the perfect street "stall". Very much relieved that the tent structure actually fit into the room we set up shop underneath. Serving food had to be done pre- and post- the opera perfermance as well as during the interval. Luckily with the A Team of Ghaz, Emma and Maria manning the fort all the guests were "Incredibly Fed" in double quick time!

Posted by incredibly fed

7 June 2013

Asparagus Spears

"Paneed"Asparagus with Goats' milk Camambert 
Neatly sandwiched between the medal winning blooms at Chelsea at the end of May and the thrilling tennis at Wimbledon at the end of June we have what has to be one of the most pleasant periods of the year, the delightful asparagus season. The appearance of those uniquely flavoursome green spears herald the advent of the summer months and the balmy days of the season to come.

Now those of you who are regular readers will spot instantly that we have already posted about asparagus. Almost a year ago while staying at a friends' chateau in the Gers region of south west France we raved about white asparagus and bemoaning it's rarity on these shores. This time we'll talk about the green cousins which are more in favour here in the UK.

If you are one of those people who steam their asparagus, very well, but as we pointed out a few weeks ago baking, roasting and griddling will get far more flavour and sweetness from your vegetables so in this case we strongly recommend baking!

Try "paneeing" the spears. Literally "to bread". Peal off any hard skin from the base of the spears and sprinkle with a little plain flour. Beat an egg and roll the spears in it followed by the breadcrumbs. (You can use Japanese panko crumbs or more economically normal bread crumbs as shown here) then place on a baking tray in the oven at 180 C for about 20 minutes. You can finnish off by placing under a hot grill for a minute or two to bring up the colour. Serve with Hollandaise sauce and a strongish cheese such as grilled goats' milk Camambert and fresh crusty bread.

Two weeks ago we were invited with Joyce my visiting cousin from Dublin to Rebecca's North London chateau for dinner after the Chelsea flower show. We volunteered to prepare the starter and chose to use two of her favourite ingredients. Joyce is addicted to  asparagus so on this occasion the green spears were paired with smoked Scottish salmon (another of her favourites) and placed on top of a mooli and carrot slaw with lightly boiled quails eggs (boil for one minute remove from heat and leave to stand for a further minute) and walnut crumbs with an orange vinaigrette. For added panache the spears were arranged in what Rebecca dryly termed "Bonfire night" fashion!

Posted by incredibly fed

31 May 2013

Dublin Coddle (Updated)

I can't believe that just a few days away from the year's brightest twenty-four hours we are writing about an essentially hearty winter dish but the weather is so awful here in London it somehow seems appropriate so here goes...

Way back in November 2011 when we started this blog the very first post we wrote was about a childhood memory of the dynamics between my parents in the kitchen and centred around a dish my father used to make called Dublin Coddle. Like much of Irish cuisine the dish was based on traditional Irish peasant food using ingredients that were cheap and plentiful. The recipe was as close to the original as I could remember and I noted at the time of writing how much tastes and ingredients had changed and how the idea of offal boiled in milk would probably not be taken up by many on this blog's readers these days. Ever since that I have been intending to update the recipe to create a dish that we would all enjoy today. Well recently we did just that...


12 Cumberland sausages
12 Streaky rashers rolled
500 g button mushrooms
2-3 Lambs kidneys (optional)
500g Small new potatoes
1 Large Onion sliced
2 Bulbs Fennel cut into wedges
2-3 Cloves garlic
300 mls Chicken stock
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash Tobasco
Half cup milk
2 Tblsp Creme Fraiche
Fresh parsley for garnish


Place all the ingredients into a large casserole dish. (If using kidneys halve them and cut out any tough white sinew) Pour in the stock and a little water if necessary. Cover, bring to the boils and simmer for about twenty minutes or until you are happy that all the ingredients are cooked through, particularly the potatoes. Drain off the liquid to another pan and simmer until reduced to about a quarter or third of the original amount. Add the milk and creme fraiche, stir well and season. Return to the main dish and allow to simmer gently for a further few minutes. Serve with Irish soda bread and a garnish of chopped parsley .

Posted by incredibly fed

24 May 2013

Poached Pears in Ginger

This is a nice elegant dessert which is not too sweet or stogy and goes well if the preceding courses have been particularly... shall we say hearty! It works well after most dishes and is a lovely way to finish a meal, the ginger, like mint stimulating the digestive juices and refreshing the pallet.

IF offer a shot glass version of the poached pear dessert at part of the party menu. This is a mini version served in shot glasses and has proved to be an extremely popular dish to finish off drinks and canape parties!

IF Party poached pears in shot glasses


6 Fairly unripe Pears
2 "Inches" Fresh Ginger
Jar Stem Ginger
5 - 7 Tbsps Sugar
Ginger Snap Biscuits


Make syrup by heating water in a saucepan and dissolving the sugar. Slice the fresh ginger and add to the syrup. Peel and cut the ends off the pears so they stand upright, cover and simmer for a few minutes. Test with a small kitchen knife, the fruit should be al dente. Allow to cool and leave the fruit in the syrup for several hours if possible.

Drain the syrup and return to heat to reduce until thick enough to serve with the pears. Chop the stem ginger into small cubes and add to the syrup. Serve the pears with a table spoon of Mascarpone and crushed ginger snaps biscuits.

Posted by incredibly fed

17 May 2013

"Roast" Belly of Pork

"Oooooo this is the best pork belly I've ever eaten the crackling is just amazing!" My friend purred as he munched his way through lunch the other day pausing briefly only to  iPhotograph his repast for later broadcast on a well known social networking site. The two of us had recently reconnected after a long hiatus (an estimated twenty years certainly) thanks to the wonders of cyberspace and now meet for lunch whenever he visits from his adopted hometown, Barcelona. We both share a delight in all things culinary and this time we were at "Roast" that eatery perched in the rafters of Borough Market in south London with the wonderful view of the market stalls below. London's rather feeble answer to the Boqueria.

The menu is eclectic contemporary British and was a choice on my part intended to afford him a break from the cuisine of the Iberian peninsula. My first suggestion had been Jose Pizarro's nearby but quickly thought a dose of British contemporary would be more welcome so "Roast" it was, and boy was I right..!! As he continued to sing the praises of the pork to our Polish waiter I felt my delicious rump of lamb has been well and truly trumped and privately vowed to return to order the pork belly as soon as possible!

To finish off we chose dessert. Eyeing the selection of classic Irish Cheeses on the menu, Cashel Blue, Ardrahan etc, and not content to leave well enough alone we felt compelled to compliment their inclusion to the waiter "Ah yes" he said with a broad grin, "we like to keep the ingredients as BRITISH as possible!!" OH DEAR!

As we strolled back along the south bank the pork belly encounter reminded me that we had recently experimented with the cut and come up with a couple of ideas for in the IF menu. This one is very easy and works well.


1 kg Pork Belly
1 Tbsp Coriander powder
1 Tbsp Five Spice
1 Tbsp Cayenne powder
Half Tbsp Celery Salt
Half Tbsp Garlic Salt


Make sure skin is bone dry before starting to cook. (Some people rub vinegar into it and leave it uncovered in the fridge for several hours) Score the pork skin with a scalpel or very sharp knife. Mix powders and dry rub the meat making sure you penetrate all the score lines. Place on foil on a baking tray for 1 and half to 2 hours until skin is crispy. If you are still not happy with the crackling factor try leaving the meat under the grill for a few minutes to finish off.

Posted by incredibly fed

10 May 2013

Upper Crust...

Wasabi Crusted Filet of Salmon 
It is claimed though it has to be said without much actual evidence that we inherit the term "Upper Crust" from the fifteenth century when the aristocracy would be entitled to eat the superior or best part of the baked bread loaf or pastry pies whilst the ordinary folk were left with, in the words of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood the dreaded soggy bottoms or overcooked dregs which sat nearest the fire.

Whatever the origin a good crust can transform your dish and does not necessarily need to be a pastry fabrication. Crushed nuts work well particularly Pistachios mixed with bread crumbs and will lend a definite Moroccan, Middle Eastern or Persian accent to your lamb for example.

Here at IF we are obsessive about not waisting food and that goes for stale bread as well, which last week we mentioned was useful for stuffing. The dried out odds and ends of loaves and baguettes make great breadcrumbs and will keep indefinitely. Just whizz the stale bread for a few seconds and you will have a very useful resource on hand in the cupboard with which you can coat almost anything. Mixed with Parmesan you can create the classic Wiener Schnitzel for example or chicken escalope.  But we have found a particularly good candidate which will make fantastic and unusual crumb and will add interest to either fish or meat.

Wasabi Crusted and French trimmed Rack of Lamb
The secret ingredient here is those little Wasabi peas which are usually served as a nibble with drinks. Simply place them in a blender and press the pulse button for a few short bursts. Add some bread crumbs and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and mix and there you are. As simple as that.  We generally use a little dijon or English mustard as "adhesive" but you can try beaten egg or just the egg white too. Simply brush on the glue and then apply the crumb generously and bake. On Salmon for example the crust can be applied before any cooking and will have the added advantage, by virtue of protecting the fish from direct heat, of helping to  keep it moist.

The lamb dish pictured here is really delicious and definitely has that certain luxurious "wow" factor. It is one of the nicest and most delicate cuts of lamb and as such should always be served pink. The pistachio or Wasabi crust and "French trimmed" lamb look very impressive and your dinner guests will think you have spent hours in the kitchen. You can buy the rack of lamb already prepared and the crust takes just a few minutes to prepare. Each rack will serve two people. We suggest searing the meat quickly to seal in the juices and then coating it with the crust in advance and then holding it until you are nearly ready to eat. You can pop it in the oven for just over 20 minutes as your guests arrive and then allow it to rest whilst the starters are being served.


Rack of lamb ( Serves two)
30g Course Ground Pistachio nuts (Roasted, Salted) or Wasabi Peas
20g Bread crumbs
2 Tbsp Oil and butter
2-3 Tbsp Dijon mustard


Pre-heat oven to 180 C. To make the crust pulse the nuts or peas in the blender until blended but not too powder like. Combine in a bowl with the bread crumbs and oil and mix well.
Remove any excess fat from the rack of lamb, season and place on a hot pan to brown all over. Remove from heat. Make an incision between each of the bones and brush with dijon mustard then cover the top of the rack with the crumb. Place on a roasting tray taking care that none of the crust falls onto the tray as this will burn. Place in the oven for about 22 - 25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes or more. To serve cut between the bones where the incisions were made earlier. Portion out on plates taking care that each serving is roughly similar.

Posted by incredibly fed

3 May 2013

Get Stuffing...!

Aubergine rolls stuffed with sausage meat, breadcrumbs, herbs and spices.
Technically speaking Lucinda was my first cousin once removed (my father's first cousin). In fact because of a significant age difference she fulfilled the role of my grandmother - having first brought up my dad, partly as a result of his own mother's overloaded matriarchal duties and partly because of her life long single status and consequent lack of any off spring.  I remember her as an elegant white haired lady who was born in the Victorian era and who was a great cook. Throughout my childhood we often baked together and consequently it is to her I owe much of my love of all things culinary. Curiously Lucinda always hesitated to use the word "stuffing" preferring instead the term "concealment". A legacy I suppose from her own prudish Victorian childhood. "Stuffing" it seems always carried somewhat vulgar connotations!  Today the term concealment would be met with glazed stares of incomprehension so for the purposes of this post let's proceed unencumbered by such linguistic niceties.

So giggles aside what springs to mind when we speak of stuffing? Is it the annual ritual taxidermy performed on  the Christmas turkey or goose or the pre - Sunday lunch surgical performance on the roast chicken, or joint of pork or lamb ?

Stuffed field mushrooms.

Despite its connotations we at IF happen to believe that stuffing is highly underrated ( if that's not an oxymoron!) Sausage meat is the obvious and perhaps the most convenient choice. Lamb, chicken, beef, pork or venison sausage meat all make a good stuffing base. Alternatively flaked fish such as salmon mixed with cooked rice is a great start or for a totally vegetarian option couscous with nuts and sultanas is delicious. Meats and fish can be used either cooked or uncooked. If using uncooked just blitz them in the blender using the pulse button and flavour with your choice of herbs or spices. Lighten the mix with a fistful of breadcrumbs. We keep a jar of crumbs on the go all the time - a great way to use those odds and ends of loaves, baguettes etc that always seem to get left uneaten.

 To the left we show large field mushrooms topped with a mix of sausage meat and bread crumbs while above we show equally delicious aubergine rolls - (which have in both cases been pre-cooked for a few minutes before the concealment was added and baked again for approximately 30 minutes).

Posted by incredibly fed

26 April 2013

Char Grilled Vegetables

We love our vegetables and don't really have a problem reaching our daily quota of 5-a-day. I for one am happy to eat lots of them raw and throughout this blog there are many posts dealing with vegetables in their natural state, for example the Simple Asian Carrot Salad or the Prawn and Mango Salad  or carpaccio of kohlrabi. Of course its not always possible or appropriate to eat vegetables without cooking them so as a plan B we would generally recommend roasting or baking.

Char grilled broccoli with flaked almond, garlic and chilli dressing.

Oven cooking brings out the natural sugars in most vegetables enhancing and intensifying their essential tastes and flavours but another method easily rivalling and perhaps even surpassing this wonderful caramelisation is to char grill. Here in this post we suggest two vegetables broccoli and baby aubergines. The former requires blanching (we think steaming is preferable) for a brief period and we mean brief, probably no more than two minutes maximum, whilst the latter can be placed directly on the char grill and cooked in one go. These two are only examples for illustrative purposes. Other vegetables which would work well are asparagus, courgettes, sweet potatoes, artichokes, fennel, red onions, spring onions, french beans.... the list is almost inexhaustible limited only by the boundaries of your imagination.

Char grilled baby aubergines with a tahini dip. 

There are just a few simple rules to follow. Vegetables should be sliced with at least one flat edge which allows maximum contact with the grilling pan and should be no more than a few millimetres thick. Those vegetables which require blanching, for example broccoli or fennel should be given short sharp shocks. Greens should be plunged into ice cold water following a brief steam to preserve their colour and then allowed to dry. All vegetables should be as dry as possible before being placed on the grill. Try to position the vegetables in such a way as to maximise the effect of the strips the grill pan will make. The pan itself should be smoking hot and a high heat maintained throughout the cooking process. Two or three minutes each side should be adequate but check the underside to see how it is doing. The intention is to burn but only up to the point where the flavour is enhanced by the caramelisation. If using any oil brush it on the vegetable not on the pan to prevent excessive smoking.

Finally a good dressing is essential in the case of the broccoli we suggest heating a little olive oil on a pan and frying some sliced cloves of garlic, chilli and flaked almonds until golden brown. Add a few drops of nut oil eg. hazelnut or walnut for an extra nutty flavour and seasoning.

For the aubergine we recommend a tahini dip consisting of tahini paste, olive oil, sweet vinegar, yoghurt, honey salt and a garnish of sesame seeds.

Posted by incredibly fed